The Golfers Who Became Commentators
THERE is a growing trend in football to use former players as analysts and commentators, with mixed success it has to be said. There have been some gems - Alan Shearer, Gary Neville, Jermain Jenas, Dion Dublin, Ian Wright to name but a few. But there have also been more than a few duds who had best remain nameless.
Increasingly, golf is also turning to former players to populate the commentary box and the course. And, almost without exception, they have turned out to be as adept with a microphone in their hands as they were in their prime as tour players. Here we look at a few of the best...
Famously aloof and self-absorbed in his playing days - the very qualities that helped him to win six majors - Faldo had a frosty relationship with the media. He preferred to let his golf clubs do the talking. So his move into the commentary box was something of a surprise. But guess what? It turns out that Faldo has a sense of humour, and American audiences cannot get enough of him. It is just a shame that he seems to have adopted a faux American accent.
Miller was never short of confidence or self-belief when in his prime and had every reason to believe and tell everybody that he was the best golfer on the planet for an all-too-brief period during the 1970s. From 1971 until 1976 he won 18 times, including two majors. When he moved into the commentary booth he made it clear that he was going to do it his own way - and he did. He was never afraid to criticise players for their choice of shots, but was able to get away with it because he had performed at the very highest level. He was brutal, and won few friends among the players he criticised.
Brown would be the first to admit that, in his playing days, he was a pretty dour character. He also had something of a reputation as being a bad boy. But he was one of the best putters in the game. With a microphone in his hand, Brown is a revelation. He is a quirky, eccentric character and his ‘Ken on the Course” features are a must-see.
Simply the best! Feherty is a former Ryder Cup player who enjoyed success on both sides of the Pond but struggled to cope with all the travel and lost himself in alcohol. He could have disappeared off the face of earth, Instead, he reinvented himself as the funniest on-course analyst in the business. He was so good that he was given his own programme and everybody who is anybody in the game of golf has appeared with him. Nobody does it better than Feherty.
Wayne "Radar" Riley
It is easy to forget that the Australian was actually a pretty decent player until, like so many others, his putting touch deserted him. He has recently spent more time in the commentary box but his natural habitat is as an on-course analyst and commentator. He cuts an unmistakable figure on the course - and all the players love him. And so do we. And he is very, very funny.
A former European Tour player who has established himself as one of the lead commentators for Sky Sports Golf, Lee is authoritative and enjoys a giggle with his fellow commentators.
Barter is the man who does most of Sky Golf’s on-course interviews. He also works with several leading players. His interview with Richard Bland was one of the highlights of 2021. Bland struggled to fight back the tears and so did Barter. It turns out that Barter has worked with Bland and been a huge help to him, on and off the course.
Famously disqualified for singing the wrong scorecard at The Open, Roe is a master of the short game and uses his skills in that area to great effect in the box. When he tells you that somebody has played a great shot from around the green then you know they really have.
As a player, he was perhaps best known for breaking his leg while hitting a drive during The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in 1991 when just two shots off the lead. Popular with players and fellow commentators alike, Boxall is a genuinely funny man who is prone to a fit of the giggles, usually when working with either Mark Roe or Rob Lee
His playing career ended far too soon. Dougherty was once regarded as the next big thing and lived up to his early promise. He was Rookie of the Year in 2002, finished 15th in the Order of Merit in 2005 and won three times, including the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2007. But then his game fell off a cliff, and he lost his card in 2011. He tried to get it back but finally called it a day in 2016. He is now a frontman for Sky Sports Golf and seems to get better with every passing year. He knows the game, he understands the game and when he interviews players he actually listens to their answers.
Another man whose playing career was effectively ended by battles on the green. As a commentator he has been a revelation. He is like a naughty schoolboy and frequently dissolves in fits of laughter. But he knows the game inside out. And if you want to know anything about wildlife, TJ is your man.
Murray joined Sky Sports in 1989 after losing his playing rights on the European Tour and is their senior commentator. The Scot with the dulcet tones has grown into the job and, like all the best commentators, knows when to let the pictures speak for themselves. He also knows when to say the right thing. He is passionate about the game and that comes across in every broadcast with which he is involved.
Who is the golfer turned commentator that you most enjoy? Here are some of our favourites!
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